System Performance Engineer on Biomass Project

Biomass instrument model

Job ID: EOP-53

Deadline: 5 February 2016

Aurora is an established supplier of skilled manpower to ESA and in particular at ESTEC and ESAC. Aurora has the opportunity to expand our support to ESA in the domain of Earth Observation.
Happiness of our employees has proven key to obtaining excellent results and a client who also regards us highly for excellent service.


The holder of this post will contribute to all aspects (project internal activities and monitoring/review of the relevant industrial activities) relevant to the system performance of the Biomass mission up to Level 1b (TBC) products in the context of the design and implementation activities undertaken in the frame of the Biomass Project.

The post holder will report to the Biomass System & Operations Manager.

In particular the tasks include:

  • Support the maintenance of system level requirements in the following areas:
    • Mission observation requirements (including P-Band SAR requirements);
    • Biomass End-to-End simulator (BEEPS) and Ground Processor Prototype (GPP) requirements;
    • External calibration with ground based transponder and natural targets;
    • SAR internal calibration;
    • ITU regulation and protection against RFI.
  • Develop and maintain system performance mathematical models and tools to support the assessment of the relevant activities performed in the context of the Biomass industrial development contract and of the compliance of the system design to the mission performance requirements;
  • Consolidate and maintain the Biomass Performance Analysis, Assessment and Verification Document;
  • Maintain System level performance budgets, in coordination with the Biomass Payload and Engineering/AIV sections for what concerns the contributing budgets. Monitor and critically analyse the compliance of the system performance budgets with the end-to-end system performance requirements and propose corrective actions in case of deviation;
  • Monitor and critically analyse the System level performance requirement allocation, their flow down to the relevant contributors, the associated margins and their evolution;
  • Monitor and review the definition and implementation of the Biomass External calibration plan and the specification, procurement and verification/validation of the relevant equipment;
  • Support the payload team for aspects relevant to instrument performance requirements flow-down and instrument performance verification, including relevant models and tools;
  • Verify and ensure the coherence of the external calibration approach and ground processing implementation with the instrument internal calibration and instrument performance in coordination with the Biomass Payload section;
  • Support the payload team for the flow-down to the instrument of requirements derived from the ITU regulation applicable to Biomass and for the definition of protection measures against Radio Frequency Interference;
  • Monitor and review the BEEPS and GPP specification, procurement and verification/validation activities, including aspects relevant to the implementation of RFI mitigation measures in the SAR processing algorithms;
  • Monitor and review the system performance verification plan and associated verification activities;
  • Support the acceptance of the BEEPS and GPP (all versions) and acquire working knowledge of the tools for test data generation purposes and internal system level verification activities;
  • Support the definition of interfaces and exchanges between the Biomass Space Segment Contract and relevant support studies (e.g. Biomass External Calibration Study);
  • Support the definition of cal/val plans and the preparation, execution and analysis of the relevant in-flight operations during the commissioning phase;
  • Support Payload Data Ground Segment (PDGS) Requirement definition and reviews for what concern the SAR processor aspects;
  • Support cross-verification activities of the PDGS operational SAR processor against the Ground Processor Prototype;
  • Support the interactions with the Biomass Mission Advisory Group (MAG) for what concerns mission & instrument performance aspects, including end-to-end system performance verification and compliance status;
  • Support the conduct and preparation of Agency Project reviews;
  • Support the System and Operations Manager and the Biomass project team members in all aspects related to system performance, as necessary for the effective execution of the Biomass project.

The System Performance Engineer will cooperate closely with the Biomass payload team in the execution of the relevant tasks. Furthermore she/he will be supported by and is expected to closely cooperate with specialist engineers from the Biomass team, from the Earth Observation System Support Division and from the Directorate of Technical and Quality Management (D/TEC) as appropriate. The incumbent will provide regular reporting to the Biomass System and Operations Manager.

Specific qualification requirements

  • University degree (preferably Masters) or equivalent qualification in a relevant physical science or engineering subject.
  • A minimum of 3 years relevant professional experience post degree in SAR systems, SAR performance/calibration and SAR processing, preferably acquired in a space project environment.
  • Good understanding of the overall instruments, including background in modelling of the observation techniques, end-to-end performance estimation, level 1b processing and instrument characterisation.
  • The candidate must possess solid analytical skills and the command of the physics and techniques of SAR systems, together with the capability to critically analyse the work performed by industry in the relevant areas, identify problems and propose/instigate corrective actions.
  • Background and experience on the specific issues relevant to low frequency, full-pol SAR systems is an asset.
  • Candidates shall demonstrate good familiarity with computer programs such as Excel, Matlab, etc.
  • Ability to work and communicate effectively in English.
  • Be able to work independently and also work with colleagues within a team.

Legal and Security Requirements

  • All applicants must be legally allowed to work in The Netherlands
  • Applicants are required to provide a copy of their passport and degree certificate. Aurora will validate the Degree with the issuing University and provide evidence to ESA.
  • Prior to issuing a letter of employment the applicant shall provide to Aurora a recent official document declaring that they are of good conduct from the country where currently resident.


The work will be performed at the European Space Technology and Research Centre (ESTEC) at Noordwijk, The Netherlands.


  • The selected candidate will receive good remuneration.
  • Will be registered for both social security and tax in the Netherlands.
  • The standard working hours are 40 per week. There are 12 public holidays and an additional 30 annual days holiday.
  • Training to improve efficiency and provide strength for future career are of course included.
  • Aurora assist with relocation both with support and financially.
  • Aurora contributes to a company pension scheme.

To be considered for this Position

Provide prior to 5 February 2016 a summary of why you are a good candidate for the position together with a complete and detailed
Recruitment Form to Mr. Davide Starnone, at email quoting reference EOP-53.

Aurora will agree conditional employment terms and conditions with candidates before presenting their detailed technical proposal and candidates to ESA by midday 11 February 2016.